DNR announces Beyond Becoming an Outdoors-Woman events

DNR announces Beyond Becoming an Outdoors-Woman events

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– DNR News –

June 15, 2021

Contact: Michelle Zellar (BOW), 906-293-5131, Ext 4004, John Pepin (Media), 906-250-7260

DNR announces Beyond Becoming an Outdoors-Woman events

One-day workshops help women experience outdoor recreation and education

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Becoming an Outdoors Woman program will offer a half-dozen Beyond BOW events this summer at various locations across Michigan.

The BOW program gives women, 18 and older, an opportunity to improve their outdoors skills in a relaxed, noncompetitive atmosphere. In addition to being fun to participate in, many of the BOW and Beyond BOW classes offer important outdoor skills, including knot-tying and finding your way with a compass and map.

Please take the BOW Participation Survey to provide important information that will help shape future BOW gatherings.

Here is a list of the upcoming Beyond BOW events:

  • July 24, 8 a.m. EDT. Women’s Hunter/Firearm Safety Workshop, Washtenaw Sportsman’s Club, Ypsilanti, MI 48197 This hunter education field-day course is an alternative to the traditional course. The hunter education information presented is the same as in the traditional course. However, the classroom portion is instead completed online. Students must present a copy of their certificate of completion (voucher) of the online course at the start of the field day. The online course is fee-based and can be taken at hunter-ed.com/michigan/.
  • July 24, Beginner Knot Tying and Map and Compass Workshops, Presque Isle Senior Pavilion, Presque Isle Park, Marquette, MI 49855 (Two separate courses) Participants will meet at the pavilion 15 minutes before class starts. PARTICIPANTS MAY ATTEND ONE OR BOTH CLASSES.
    • Beginner Knot Tying: 10 a.m. to noon EDT. In beginner knot tying, the instructor will demonstrate and teach how to tie various knots that are useful in the outdoors. This is a hands-on class, and you will be provided with rope for practice. Some of the knots demonstrated may include the overhand, square, half-hitch, trailer-hitch, bowline and figure eight. The focus of the workshop will be on foundational knots and knots with frequent usage in the outdoors, as well as others requested by participants.
    • Beginner Map and Compass: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. EDT. There will be three components to the Map and Compass Class. First, we will learn the basics on how to successfully read a map, as well as learn the differences in types of maps and their appropriate usage. Second, we will learn the basics of compass usage and terminology. Lastly, we will put our new skills to practice in a hands-on compass course.
  • July 31, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. EDT. Belle Isle State Park pop-up event, Detroit. BOW Committee Members and Volunteer Instructors will have various demo classes available throughout the State Park for visitors on-site. There will be a welcome booth with program information, staff available for questions and a program suggestion boxThis event is free and does not require registration.
  • August 27-29, 2 p.m. EDT (registration). Independent Rustic Camping Workshop, Rivermouth Campground, Tahquamenon Falls State Park, Paradise. Participants will set up camp at the Group Camping Area at the Rivermouth Campground, located off M-123 in Chippewa County. All participants will camp and cook independently in our happy tent neighborhood. This is an opportunity to learn how to set up your own tent, start a fire, cook your food on a camp stove and filter your water in a supportive learning environment. Time to take the lead and become comfortable with all the various tasks required for a backcountry camping trip. Mentors will be available for assistance and will run mini clinics throughout the weekend to teach a specific skill or share an experience. This is a very hands-on trip. 

Registration materials for the Beyond BOW workshops are available at Michigan.gov/BOW.

The traditional June summer BOW workshop has been moved for this year to Sept. 10-12 at the Upper Peninsula Bible Camp on Farmer Lake in Little Lake, near Gwinn, rather than at the Bay Cliff Health Camp in Big Bay.

Registration materials for the fall event are expected to be available in early July. Those signed-up for BOW email notifications will receive an email when event details and registration materials are available on the DNR website.

To keep up with the latest on BOW, sign-up for email notifications at Michigan.gov/BOW. You can also follow BOW on Facebook or Instagram.

For questions, contact BOW coordinator Michelle Zellar at dnrbow@michigan.gov or 906-293-5131 ext. 4004.

DNR COVID-19 RESPONSE: For details on affected DNR facilities and services, visit this webpage. Follow state actions and guidelines at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to Michigan.gov/DNR.
DNR News: Great Lakes beach safety is key to state park visits

DNR News: Great Lakes beach safety is key to state park visits


Centennial banner

– DNR News –

June 15, 2021
Contact: Ron Olson, 517-243-1477

Great Lakes beach safety is key to great state park visits

red flagAs the summer heats up and people begin flocking to Great Lakes beaches, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources urges everyone to keep water and pier safety in mind.

Holding more than 20% of the world’s fresh water, the Great Lakes are large, powerful water systems. These lakes reign supreme for many during warmer months, but they also are prone to dangerous currents that can threaten even the most experienced swimmer. Adverse weather patterns can create dangerous rip and structural currents along piers and breakwalls, too. Crashing waves can create slippery surfaces and conditions strong enough to knock a person into the water.

“The DNR eagerly welcomes millions of visitors to Michigan state parks each summer,” said Sean Mulligan, Holland State Park manager. “Visitors should keep in mind that winds can come up quickly, changing conditions without warning, so always pay attention to the weather. The Great Lakes can become very dangerous, especially when waves get higher than 4 feet.”

Unfortunately, several emergencies and drownings have occurred along the beach and breakwall areas. Many of these incidents happened during red flag days when the wind and waves are strong with greater potential for dangerous rip currents.

Of Michigan’s 100-plus state parks, 42 offer access to Great Lakes shoreline.

Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division, said the increase in accidents and drownings on the Great Lakes in recent years is especially troubling and clear evidence that greater public awareness is needed. In particular, Grand Haven, Holland, Ludington and Mears state parks are situated in locations where rip currents tend to build and recurring safety hazards are present.

“When it comes to protecting Michigan residents and visitors on the water, especially the Great Lakes, we cannot talk enough about safety, preparation and vigilant awareness,” Olson said.

New safety measures at Holland State Park

Holland State Park, situated along Lake Michigan, is one of Michigan’s most-visited sites and provides the main access to a popular pier that is owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. More recently, the DNR and the local community have collaborated on additional ways to alert visitors to changing Great Lakes and pier conditions.

This past fall, Holland State Park staff collaborated with Park Township and The King Company to fund the installation of a gate on the pier adjacent to Holland State Park. The goal is to help save lives by restricting access during harsh weather and to reduce the number of people jumping off the pier, while still allowing people to fish from the pier when feasible. Generally speaking, the gate will be closed during the winter, when the red flags are flying and during night hours when the park is closed.

In addition, an electronic messaging board conveying beach conditions is located where visitors enter Holland State Park, and a new public address system will be used to update beachgoers as the beach warning flags are changed in response to weather conditions. Visitors also can view live beach conditions at CityOfHolland.com/645/MIHollandCAM via livestream video courtesy of the City of Holland and Biggby Coffee. Conditions are posted on the park’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/HollandStateParkMi.

River outlets and breakwalls

Dangerous currents can occur near the outlets of rivers and breakwalls, especially during times that water levels are higher.

For example, the mouth of the Big Sable River is located in Ludington State Park, but outside the designated swim area. In the past, swimmers have been swept out into Lake Michigan. This park also has installed an electronic bulletin messaging board at the entrance to the designated beach area to help alert visitors of current conditions.

In addition, swimmers should be aware of particularly dangerous structural currents that form along shoreline structures near breakwalls, such as in Mears State Park.

“When northwest winds appear, water is pushed to the shore causing dangerous currents along the north side of the pier,” said Chris Bush, lead ranger at Mears State Park. “People are often surprised that structures located in the Great Lakes can cause such powerful, and sometimes dangerous, currents.”

Using state park designated swim areas on the Great Lakes

Many, but not all, state parks on the Great Lakes offer designated swimming areas that are identified by buoys or buoys and markers, a beach flag warning system and water depth less than 5 feet at the time of installation. Water depth will be inspected approximately every 14 days and underwater obstacles will be posted or marked. You may also find other designated swim areas in areas other than state parks.

Check the flag upon arrival and be sure to monitor it throughout the day because conditions can change rapidly.

  • Green flag = Go. Enter the water but stay aware of changing conditions.
  • Yellow flag = Caution. Watch for dangerous currents and high waves.
  • Red flag = Stop. Stay on the beach; do not enter the water and do not swim.

There are no beach guards at state parks , so please never swim alone and keep close watch of children. Stay within arm’s reach and make sure all kids wear life jackets.

If there is an emergency, immediately call 911. At Holland and Grand Haven state parks, use the nearest red zone number boards (located on the beach) to help relay your location as accurately as possible.

State park designated swim areas have lifesaving flotation device and equipment. Remember the safety equipment on the beach or pier is for emergency use only; using this equipment for anything else is against the law.

Keep these additional cautions in mind when enjoying time in and around the Great Lakes:

  • Currents near piers can be extremely hazardous. Pay attention to the buoys marking the designated swim areas; swimming outside of the marked swim zones can be dangerous and should be avoided.
  • During certain weather conditions, the force of water and waves crashing over the surface can easily wash someone off a structure; always monitor the beach flag warning system.
  • Before leaving home, learn about the types of Great Lakes currents and how to escape them.
  • Check local weather reports and lake conditions before and during your beach trip.

Nondesignated swim areas on the Great Lakes

Visitors in areas without designated swim beaches should use extreme caution because they will not have the benefit of the beach flag warning system or the visual cautions of buoys that mark water depth and other obstacles.

More smart safety water tips

When swimming or boating in any body of water – whether the Great Lakes, inland lakes or slow-moving rivers and streams – make safety your first priority. Never swim alone, always keep close watch of children and bring U.S. Coast-Guard-approved life jackets, especially for new and inexperienced swimmers.

When boating, have life jackets available for everyone on the vessel, leave a float plan with someone on shore, stay alert and carry a cell phone or marine radio. Such planning goes for those on personal watercraft like Jet Skis and paddle boards, too. Learn boating safety.

More info

Visit Michigan.gov/BeachSafety to learn about the beach flag warning system, how to escape rip currents and more.

For more on overall beach and water safety at state parks throughout Michigan, contact Ron Olson at 517-243-1477 or OlsonR@Michigan.gov. For more information on Holland State Park, contact Sean Mulligan at 616-399-9390 or MulliganS@Michigan.gov.

Note to editors: Accompanying photos are available below for download.

DNR COVID-19 RESPONSE: For details on affected DNR facilities and services, visit this webpage. Follow state actions and guidelines at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus.
DNR announces Beyond Becoming an Outdoors-Woman events

DNR News Digest – Week of June 7, 2021

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News Digest – Week of June 7, 2021

RAM center sign framed with yellow leaves

New “Lodge and Learn” classes at the RAM Center are available starting this month.

As our state works to reopen to the public, some of this week’s stories may reflect how the Department of Natural Resources has adapted to meet customer needs and protect public health and safety. We will continue to share news and information about the best ways to discover and enjoy Michigan’s natural and heritage resources!

Follow our COVID-19 response page for FAQs and updates on access to facilities and programs. For public health guidelines and news, visit Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

Here’s a look at some of this week’s stories:

See other news releases, Showcasing the DNR stories, photos and other resources at Michigan.gov/DNRPressRoom.

PHOTO FOLDER: Larger, higher-res versions of some of the images used below are available in this folder.

Photo ambassador snapshot: Seriously Superior shoreline

long view of the sandy, rocky beach, blue sky and shoreline waves at Muskellonge State Park in Luce CountyWant to see more pictures like this, taken by Michigan state parks photo ambassador Natalie Hardy at Muskallonge State Park in Luce County? Visit Instagram.com/MiStateParks to explore photos and learn more about the photo ambassadors! For more on the program, call Stephanie Yancer at 989-274-6182.

Outdoor Skills Academy offers new location, classes, guest speaker

RAM lodge & learn outdoor skills academyWhether you’re an outdoors newbie building up your recreational skills or an experienced veteran searching for a fresh hobby, the DNR Outdoor Skills Academy has a class for you!

Starting this month, the academy will offer classes at the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center on Higgins Lake in Roscommon. The RAM Center recently opened for individuals, families or small groups to “Lodge and Learn,” a chance to stay amid Michigan’s northern woods while building outdoor recreation know-how.

Check out these upcoming classes:

  • Walleye Fishing Clinic, June 19 – Pro walleye tournament angler Dan Miller will cover walleye fishing from A to Z.
  • Bush Craft, Wild Mushroom and Wild Edibles Clinic, Oct. 8-10 – Instruction on wilderness safety, bush craft (surviving and thriving in the natural world), wild edibles and how to find, identify and handle a variety of Michigan’s edible wild mushrooms.
  • Ice Fishing for Beginners, Jan. 8, 2022 – How to set up equipment and how, where and when to fish, electronics, ice safety, and rules and regulations.
  • Advanced Hard Water School, Feb. 25-27, 2022 – Learn from the ice fishing pros. Each student will pick a topic of interest and be assigned a pro fisherman.

The RAM Center isn’t the only place to catch one of these invaluable classes. The new North Woods Survival Skills Clinic will be at the Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center in Cadillac Aug. 14. The class will cover skills needed in an outdoor survival situation, including navigation; wilderness first aid; and how to safely prepare water for drinking, safely start a fire without matches, make cordage (rope from plants), make a log stove and identify animal tracks and scat. Participants also will learn how to shoot a bow and arrow.

New this year, too, is a talk and book signing with guest speaker Denny Geurink at the Bear Hunting Clinics at the Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center Aug. 7 and Aug. 8. Geurink – former syndicated outdoor columnist, Field & Stream magazine editor, host of the “Outdoor Adventures” TV show and owner/operator of the No. 1 brown bear outfitting company in the world for over 20 years – wrote two books, including “In the Land of the Bear,” a look at his adventures hunting brown bears in Siberia and traveling in Russia.

For more details and to register for classes, visit Michigan.gov/OutdoorSkills.

Questions? Call the Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center at 231-779-1321.

2020 fire report reflects cooler, wetter year

prescribed burn on field with fire equipmentNationwide, nine out of 10 wildfires are caused by people. When wildfires happen, DNR firefighters are there to put them out.

The newest DNR wildland fire report is now available, sharing details about the 2020 firefighting season and staff activities.

DNR firefighters responded to 203 fires last year, starting in March and ending in December. The fires burned a combined 960 acres of land, with the most resource-intensive fire igniting in Grayling May 21, requiring air support and the assistance of partner agencies. A dry autumn extended fire season and resulted in an unusual 13 November fires.

The low number of fires and acres burned in 2020 reflect a cool, wet year, contrasting with previous years and the way 2021 has been shaping up. This year, firefighters already have responded to 219 fires with 2,088 acres burned.

“The most common cause of wildfire was escaped yard waste burns of leaves and brush,” said DNR fire supervisor Dan Laux. “Other common causes were sparks from equipment and campfires.”

With fewer blazes to put out in Michigan, fire teams turned their efforts to improving forest road infrastructure by fixing culverts – structures that allow water to flow under a road, railroad or trail – grading roads, building bridges and removing hazardous trees. They also assisted with tree planting, storm cleanup and timber preparation efforts. Emergency incident management teams that include DNR fire staffers helped Midland-area communities following flooding and provided support for COVID-19 emergency efforts in Detroit.

Further afield, 99 dispatches of firefighters and technical staff were authorized to help with a devastating western wildfire season in California, Colorado, Oregon, Arizona, Utah and Wyoming. These experiences allow firefighters to sharpen their skills to be more effective here at home, and Michigan is always reimbursed for sending assistance to other states.

DNR pilots flew fire-detection flights during high-risk times, provided aerial support to battle large fires and assisted with forest health and wildlife surveys.

The Forest Fire Experiment Station and the Roscommon Equipment Center program, a mid-Michigan facility which designs and builds fire equipment, finalized production of a fire plow for fire suppression in rough terrain. Designers also began work to upcycle retired military equipment into rugged new firefighting engines.

Questions? Contact Paul Rogers at 616-260-8406.

Baby animals are best left in the wild

fawn curled up in grassAs the weather continues to warm, baby wildlife will venture out of their nests or dens. If you have a chance to see this new generation of wildlife, remember to enjoy it from a distance and leave these babies alone.

“Fawns are a common sight this time of year, and it is not unusual to find them by themselves in backyards or neighborhoods,” said Hannah Schauer, a DNR wildlife communications coordinator. “The mother deer will come back to nurse and care for her baby when she feels it is safe to do so.”

A baby animal on its own rarely is abandoned; its best chance for survival is in the wild, so never remove a wild animal from its natural setting.

“By hiding her babies and going elsewhere, the mother is helping them stay safe from predators by not drawing attention to where her babies are,” said Schauer. “In addition, youngsters like fawns have excellent camouflage to make them harder for predators to find.”

Eventually, the young animals will be strong and fast enough to be on their own or accompany their mother while she looks for food.

Fledgling birds hopping around on the ground also are a normal sight this time of year. These young birds are getting old enough to start trying to fly and need more space than their nests provide. Even when the chicks are starting to fledge and leave the nest, the parents will continue to feed and care for them.

Only licensed wildlife rehabilitators may possess abandoned or injured wildlife. Unless a person is licensed, it is illegal to possess a live wild animal in Michigan.

Learn more about what to do if you find a baby animal in the wild and see a list of licensed wildlife rehabilitators at Michigan.gov/Wildlife or contact DNR Wildlife Division at 517-284-9453.

Uncovering the secret travels of Muskie … James the Muskie

james the muskie fishMuskellunge, a prized sportfish, are known as the fish of a thousand casts because of the difficulty many anglers have in catching them. Their movements and behaviors are shrouded in mystery, but a multiagency team of researchers is using state-of-the-art technology to reveal patterns of muskie movements in the Great Lakes.

Scientists from the Michigan DNR, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Ohio DNR and United States Geological Survey began tagging muskies in the Detroit River in 2016, with subsequent batches of fish tagged in the Canadian and American waters of Lake St. Clair.

Muskies primarily were captured by local fishing group partners who caught the fish before tagging. Each fish was surgically implanted with an acoustic transmitter that emits coded pings unique to each fish and has a battery life of at least seven years. These signals can be detected by a network of listening stations throughout the Great Lakes as part of the Great Lakes Acoustic Telemetry Observation System.

Detections revealed broad movements of fish from Lake St. Clair into the Detroit River and even Lake Erie. One fish, nicknamed James because of his tag number 007, amazingly traveled from his original tagging location in the Detroit River all the way to Buffalo, New York, during the summer of 2016. By January 2017, James was back in the Michigan waters of Lake Erie, and in May 2017 was only a few hundred yards from where he had been captured the year before – a stealthy round trip of at least 620 miles! Remarkably, James repeated this movement in following years and is still providing scientists with data on his movements.

Tagging and tracking of muskies is ongoing, with researchers hoping to use fish movement patterns to identify unique groups of fish, which can inform overall estimates of population size and provide vital information to fisheries managers.

To learn more about this mysterious Michigan fish species, visit Michigan.gov/Muskie.

Questions? Contact Jan-Michael Hessenauer at 586-242-8844.


Anchors aweigh! Boating is a great way to beat the summer heat. Whether you want safety tips, registration information or maps on where to boat or find harbors, the DNR boating page has it all.


Looking for a fun new activity for the kids? Check out the What in the Wild card game! Proceeds support our “Go Wild for Michigan’s Wildlife” curriculum package for educators.


Whether on water or land, you’re the first defense against invasive species. Keep an eye out for invasives and report your observations to help protect your favorite recreation spots.

DNR: Michigan’s ‘Three Free’ weekend June 12-13

DNR: Michigan’s ‘Three Free’ weekend June 12-13

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– DNR News –

June 7, 2021
Contact: Jessica Holley (ORV), 517-331-3790; Sierra Medrano (fishing), 517-230-8788; or Ron Olson (state parks/Recreation Passport), 517-243-1477

Free fishing, off-roading and state park entry – enjoy it all during Michigan’s ‘Three Free’ weekend June 12-13

a woman with long dark hair, wearing a red plaid jacket, helps a young boy wearing a baseball cap hold a fishing pole out over a grassy, rocky ridgeThe Department of Natural Resources has three big reasons for you to get outdoors Saturday, June 12, and Sunday, June 13. Michigan’s “Three Free” weekend – two full days when residents and out-of-state visitors can grab a fishing rod, ride the off-road trails and visit state parks – is back and all free of charge.

“Michigan is home to some of the best outdoor recreation opportunities and most beautiful natural spaces you’ll find anywhere,” said DNR Director Dan Eichinger. “Whether you’re already an avid outdoors-person or someone just beginning to explore all the options, our ‘Three Free’ weekend makes it easy to discover a new hobby, visit a new park or introduce friends to an outdoor experience you love.”

These two days include:

  • Free Fishing Weekend. Residents and nonresidents can enjoy two days of free fishing without a license. All other fishing regulations apply. To get more details or find a local event, visit Michigan.gov/FreeFishing.
  • Free ORV Weekend. Michigan residents and nonresidents legally can ride 3,800 miles of designated routes and trails and the state’s six scramble areas without purchasing an ORV license or trail permit. Visit Michigan.gov/ORVinfo for the latest ORV trail, safety and closure information.
  • Free Recreation Passport. To encourage people to pursue free fishing and other outdoor fun, the DNR waives the regular Recreation Passport entry fee that grants vehicle access to Michigan’s 103 state parks and 1,300 state-managed boating access sites. Visit Michigan.gov/RecreationPassport to learn more about all the Passport provides.

Free Fishing and Free ORV weekends take place twice a year on back-to-back days.

Protect yourself and the outdoors

view of a single-file row of off-road vehicles, driven by people wearing helmets, heading away from the camera, on a tree-lined trailFor the best outdoor experiences, the DNR urges everyone to put safety first when they’re enjoying Michigan’s woods, water and trails. Helpful safety tips – for ORV, boating, beach, fire and other topics – are available at Michigan.gov/DNREducation in the Safety Information section. The DNR also encourages anglers to review fishing safety tips and other helpful information at Michigan.gov/HowToFish.

Additionally, the DNR encourages people to recreate responsibly. Before you head out on the trails or water, visit our Do Your Part website to learn more about how you can stay safe and protect the health and beauty of our great state.

Note to editors: Accompanying photos are available below for download. Caption information follows.

  • Fishing fun: Introducing youngsters to the thrill of fishing is a big part of this longtime Michigan tradition.
  • ORV riding: Off-roading on the state’s 3,800-plus miles of designated trails, not to mention five scramble areas, draws ORV enthusiasts from all over Michigan.
  • Beach, boating at Interlochen State Park: During “Three Free” weekend June 12-13, the DNR is waiving the Recreation Passport requirement for vehicle entry to the state’s more than 100 state parks; it’s a great opportunity to enjoy beaches, take advantage of boating access sites, cast a fishing line and much more.
  • “Three Free” graphic
  • Recreation Passport logo
DNR COVID-19 RESPONSE: For details on affected DNR facilities and services, visit this webpage. Follow state actions and guidelines at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus.
DNR Get Involved – June 2021

DNR Get Involved – June 2021

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DNR Get Involved – June 2021

stream running through forest

Here are a few ways to get involved in taking care of Michigan’s natural resources in June. For more opportunities to volunteer, contribute and provide input, visit Michigan.gov/DNRVolunteers.

Help remove invasive species, restore natural areas at state parks

volunteer clearing invasive plants in wooded areaSeveral state parks in southern Michigan will host volunteer stewardship workdays in June. Volunteers are needed to help with removing invasive plants that threaten high-quality ecosystems in the parks.

Please note that registration is required for all volunteer workdays, and participation may be limited.

Workdays will take place:

  • Saturday, June 5, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Highland Recreation Area (Oakland County)
  • Saturday, June 5, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Warren Dunes State Park (Berrien County)
  • Sunday, June 6, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Waterloo Recreation Area (Washtenaw County)
  • Sunday, June 6, 1 to 3 p.m. at Hoffmaster State Park (Muskegon County)
  • Saturday, June 12, 9 a.m. to noon at Bald Mountain Recreation Area (Oakland County)
  • Saturday, June 12, noon to 2 p.m. at Ludington State Park (Mason County)
  • Sunday, June 13, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Brighton Recreation Area (Livingston County)
  • Sunday, June 13, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Fort Custer Recreation Area (Kalamazoo County)
  • Sunday, June 20, 1 to 4 p.m. at Holland State Park (Ottawa County)
  • Saturday, June 26, 9 a.m. to noon at Island Lake Recreation Area (Livingston County)
  • Saturday, June 26, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Warren Dunes State Park (Berrien County)
  • Sunday, June 27, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Pinckney Recreation Area (Washtenaw County)
  • Wednesday, June 30, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Saugatuck Dunes State Park (Allegan County)

More details about each workday can be found on the DNR volunteer events calendar.

Take part in state forest planning process

DNR employee working on prescribed burnThe DNR responsibly manages 3.9 million acres of state forest land using such techniques as timber harvests, tree thinning, planting and prescribed burns to keep forests thriving and healthy.

To make the work more efficient and easier to oversee, the DNR divides those millions of acres into 15 forest management units, which are further divided into compartments. Management activity in each forest management unit is finalized two years in advance, and each compartment is formally reviewed once every 10 years. This summer and fall, recommendations for 2023 are being presented.

At this time, open houses planned for 2021 will be virtual, with input invited by email, phone or mail during the designated time frame. This gives people the opportunity to offer input to foresters, wildlife biologists and other DNR professionals regarding forest plans.

After the end of each comment period, a public compartment review meeting will take place, where foresters present the DNR’s final decisions on management activities. The DNR reviews 10% of the state forest annually. That equates to about 400,000 acres or roughly 220 compartments.

For more information, including a link to the interactive forest map showing details of all forest management activities, visit Michigan.gov/ForestInput.

Below are the comment periods taking place in June and the related compartment reviews. Contact the area unit manager to make arrangements to view the compartment review meeting online or listen over the phone.

  • Gaylord: Comments May 17-June 16; compartment review is July 15. Contact Lucas Merrick, 989-732-3541, ext. 5440.
  • Atlanta: Comments June 8-July 8; compartment review is Aug. 5. Contact Cody Stevens, 989-785-4251.

See a full comment period schedule.

Help shape the decisions that affect your public lands

Man and two kids on platform overlooking Lower Tahquamenon FallsWant to learn more about the DNR’s state land review process and how the department makes decisions about which parcels best meet its mission to provide public access to quality outdoor recreation opportunities? Mark your calendar for upcoming meetings (June 8 and 9) where DNR land managers will discuss recommendations for the second group of 10 counties under review: Antrim, Arenac, Grand Traverse, Hillsdale, Iosco, Iron, Kalamazoo, Luce, Ontonagon and Van Buren.

Initial recommendations, reached after extensive review of the land parcels, fall into four classifications: “retain” in state ownership; “offer” for possible ownership to local government or conservation partner; “exchange” for another parcel; or “dispose” via public auction.

The same information will be shared at each meeting; there is no need to attend both. For more on either meeting, contact Scott Whitcomb at 231-373-3007.

The state land review was implemented as part of the 2013 DNR-managed public land strategy and involves review of certain isolated parcels of state land. Check out the DNR’s public land strategy webpage for more details about the process.

Note: The first 10 counties – Berrien, Branch, Cass, Charlevoix, Chippewa, Dickinson, Alpena, St. Joseph, Gogebic and Leelanau – are nearing the end of the review process, with the DNR director expected to make a final decision about recommendations at the July 15 meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission.

Public comments on these recommendations will be accepted through July 14 via the interactive map or email at DNR-StateLandReview@Michigan.gov.

Support Michigan state parks and boating

Love boating and state parks? You can give back! Support Michigan state parks by donating to your favorite place, project or program, and help enhance Michigan’s boating opportunities with a donation for waterways infrastructure updates.

Leave firewood at home to protect trees

Wherever your travels take you this summer, help prevent the spread of tree-killing insects and diseases that can move with firewood. Buy firewood near where you will burn it – use FirewoodScout.org to find a vendor near your destination.

fire danger is high across northern Michigan

fire danger is high across northern Michigan


Centennial banner

– DNR News –

A fire truck sits atop a burned hillside with skeletal trees reaching into the sky after a fire in the DNR's Atlanta Forest Management Unit. June 4, 2021

Contact: Jeff Vasher (Lower Peninsula), 989-745‐2942 or John Pepin (Upper Peninsula), 906-250-7260

Dry conditions mean fire danger is high or very high across much of northern Michigan

With high temperatures and limited rainfall expected for the next several days, fire danger is high or very high across much of northern Michigan. That means taking precautions to prevent wildfires through the weekend when working or playing outdoors.

“With conditions this dry, a lot of different things can set off fires,” said Jeff Vasher, fire specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “A spark from a campfire can do it. Heat from an ORV or equipment can do it. A chain dragging from a trailer can do it, or a downed power line.”

Burn permits for yard debris will not be issued in many areas through the weekend; check Michigan.gov/BurnPermit in northern Michigan or contact local municipal or fire authorities in the southern Lower Peninsula.

Even if grass is green, it can still be dry and spread fire, Vasher said. Stands of pine trees also are particularly dry, especially in the eastern Upper Peninsula.

Within the past week or so, DNR firefighters have responded to fires ranging from a few acres to more than 300 acres. People cause about nine out of 10 wildfires in the state. Since the 2021 season began, DNR firefighters have responded to more than 200 wildland fires with over 2,000 acres burned.

Tips to help keep your activities fire-safe

Take extra care and precautions with these activities:

  • Campfires can smolder for hours through the night, so always make sure fires are out before you turn in. To make sure the fire is completely extinguished, drown it with water, stir it and carefully feel to make sure it is no longer emitting heat. Always keep a water source and a shovel nearby whenever the fire is burning. Keep campfires within a ring 3 feet or less in diameter. If a fire does get out of hand, call 911 immediately.
  • Fireworks are fun but can inadvertently set off a blaze. Do not shoot fireworks into the woods or into dry grass. When you are using fireworks in the yard, soak the grass in the area with a hose and keep the hose handy. Put used sparklers into a bucket of water, as wires can stay hot.
  • When using ORVs or outdoor equipment, take steps to minimize sparks and keep hot equipment away from dry grass or brush. Ride ORVs only on trails to avoid starting a grass fire.

Check out this quick video with fire safety tips that will earn you a “perfect 10” from Smokey Bear!

For more information on fire management, including fire prevention tips and more, visit Michigan.gov/FireManagement.

DNR COVID-19 RESPONSE: For details on affected DNR facilities and services, visit this webpage. Follow state actions and guidelines at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus.